Sunday, July 19, 2015

The legacy continues.....

A couple weeks ago I posted this post: 

I have been on a Hospice job with a wonderful, large, generational family in our area, who are losing their mom. I am happy to be able to walk this last journey with their momma, who is strong and funny and just wants to get going. Being here has made me think so much of my own mom and those last weeks I shared with her. That time was one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given, for many reasons.

Lately, as I have had conversations with each of my girls, and my mom is fresh in my mind, and I think of her mom, I think of the similar generational struggles that we all have faced at various levels. How very different we all were/are, but also how alike. Out of this group of six women, all have battled debilitating depression and anxiety on various levels at different times through out our history.

When I was younger I viewed my mother's issues and her mother's before her, as character defects. Then my own depressions began to hit and still I thought that if we could only try harder, *will* ourselves to do better, to feel better....even though it was truly a Herculean feat that felt impossible, we would be ok. My mom and her mom both coped with their issues with substance use and abuse, among other things, through the years. I just kept trying harder. None of us were able to conquer them....but on various levels we all learned how to live with our stuff. Some more successfully than others.

Eventually I gave birth to one son and 3 daughters. All have had various bouts of depression and anxiety. Just like their mom, and their grandma, and their great grandma. My girls especially have struggled. My son I think just plows on ahead until he hits on something that helps him to feel better....snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking, working and focusing on problem solving.

As I have been thinking about this I feel an overwhelming love for all of us. All of us crazy women! With all of our mistakes and character defects and our efforts and our realness and authenticity, all of us who could be so quick to hurt feelings, to anger, who would cut each other no slack.....but then we would realize that none of us are all that different from the other so we would hurry back to make things right. Because first and foremost we love each other. My family has been my greatest classroom in lessons of how to let go, how to forgive, how to accept, how to speak my truth *even when it might not be understood or received well,* and ultimately, how to see the beauty in imperfection.

I must be having a peri-menopausal mood swing lol .....because today, I feel so grateful to be a part of this tribe of beautiful women. I see the skills my girls have learned and use to cope with their own personal issues and I think they are so brave and so beautiful.

Recently, Little One and I met some friends on a camping trip. I knew it would be a stretch for her with her propensity for quiet and solitude. She socialized some, but when she had had enough she climbed up into a big tall tree and just watched everyone. I didn't like that solution. It was different, not particularly socially acceptable, it set her apart, while the other kids were off laughing and having fun together mine was sitting alone in a tree....but I stayed quiet. Later when we met with her counselor and told her about the trip, her response choked me up. "I am so proud of you for knowing what you needed and doing what you needed to do make it happen. Way to take good care of yourself." She then looked at me and said, "Little One knows herself very very well. Better than most 14 year olds. She is very self aware....she knows what she needs and how to take care of herself." In other words....listen to her. Allow her the space to do what she needs to do...even if it doesn't make sense to you. It changed my whole perspective on the tree incident. It made me admire her quiet little self so much.

Anyway, apparently I am just having a minute of appreciating the messiness of my life. Nothing is perfect. Nothing is how I planned, but even though I am not living the outcomes I life is filled with beautiful imperfect people. Young women (and older ones too) who struggle at times but are real people, compassionate, honest, and authentic and I have to think that some of that has been passed down from the older generation of women who struggled. Who suffered tremendous loss and heartache and abuse through their lives....but who always knew how to love. I will never forget my mom's compassion as she would see morbidly obese people..."they had to pass my weight to get to where they are," she would say. She would see a homeless person drinking out a brown bag and say, "There but for the grace of God go I." When I was little we would drive past a street corner that had "girl's of the night" standing out displaying their wares, she would say...."those poor young lost souls."

She taught us how to live and how to love... and how to not live by her example.

Bless her heart.

Feeling grateful.....

And then.....within minutes of hitting "publish," I received a text saying, "I just wish I was dead. I'm so tired of living like this." 

Thus began a couple weeks of turmoil and upset and misery, and me feeling like the above post was a crock of shit and embracing our mental infirmities wasn't true at all, wasn't even possible. So I took it down, because if I am anything, I am honest and I am not going to spout out about embracing the process when I am scared and sick of the process myself.

Eventually the kid who sent me the above text saw her dr. and received a dx of bipolar 2 and was given a medication to add to her mix to help stabilize everything. I asked her yesterday how everything was going and she said she has good days and bad, but is much better than a week ago. The dx is a relief if the truth be told. Now we know, now we have a specific direction to head off into to find tools and solutions and I am working my way back to embracing our brokenness once again. Because this girl of mine has a beautiful spirit and this bit inside of her, this dark place, will help her to see the world a little more gently, to love others in their imperfection, and to hopefully, most of all, accept the grace and love that God has for her, no matter what, and to be able to embrace who she is, to love herself and be true to her own person at a whole new level.

Without knowing what was going on a dear friend (nudged by God I would say) sent me a blog post which summed it all up. None of us are immune from suffering and if we can embrace our struggles, our infirmities, they can produce beauty from the ashes. 

God bless us all.....


Mary Christine said...

I don't think your earlier post and your update are in conflict at all. It's all about accepting one another as we are. And none of us are 100% together.

God bless you Annette. You and your girls are so beautiful and obviously love each other so much.

SoberMomWrites said...

It's funny how life's crazy dips and turns can have us wondering, "Am I lost? This can't be the right place." And yet, if we're quiet, we can here God whispering, "Follow me. I will never leave you.". It's then that we realize we're right where we belong.

Love and hugs -

Liz said...

God bless Annette. Thinking of you.